My name is Gill (Gillian when I’m in trouble) Cowell.  I’m of an age I won’t admit to because my body says one thing and my brain says another.  I’ve been married to Tony for fifteen years, this is a second marriage for me.  The first was very unhealthy but I have two wonderful sons and now six grandchildren, family is the most important part of my life.  I have to admit my life experiences are many and if I wrote them down even  I wouldn’t believe it!

My biggest battles have been dealing with breast cancer, but I am now a seventeen year survivor, amazing!  All my life I have had clinical depression and anxiety.  The group courses I have done with the mental health team locally are anxiety management and coping skills, these have been so helpful with my families.

I got to hear about Home-Start by being invited to a fundraising coffee morning.  Who should be there but Hazel, Mandy and Amanda.  I have to admit I’d never heard of Home-Start.  I’d been looking for a while to do some volunteering, after the death of my Dad.  Nothing seemed to grab me UNTIL Amanda explained what the scheme was about, then a serious chat at my house had me signed up.

The training was second to none and although quite intense it has stood me in great stead for my families.

I love what I do and the satisfaction is so good.

My greatest memory is of a family from last year, it was a nightmare and I had to work closely with Amanda, there were so many authorities involved.  Mum and child were in a desperate situation, I almost gave up, it was intense, but everyone had given up on them and I wasn’t going to do the same.  When I left them it was so emotional, they were well on the way to fulfilling everything on their wish list.  Mum was in tears and her words were – you were the best thing that could of happened to me, I have a lump in my throat writing this.

This says it all, this is what Home-Start and volunteering is about.  xx